Is your booty confused? Lets investigate…
The fact is, your glutes are the boss of your “push off.” They power your stride and propel you forward. The problem? They’re often lazy. Sometimes they try to go all “buns of steel,” but the complete opposite is usually the case. Booty clenchers: you’re compressing your low back, which never ends well. And lazy booties: you’re likely creating imbalances in your body while you force other muscles (stiff hammies, anyone?) to work overtime to compensate for your butt’s, um, floppiness.
So, what’s a runner to do? Become aware of, activate, and strengthen your rear end, so that you can use the muscles to full effect. Make that booty work for you! Step one: grab it and give it a good squeeze…
Self-Test: What’s going on back there?
• Lie on your back with your knees bent, feet on the floor about hip’s width apart, and then lift your hips up to come into a “bridge.”
• Bring one hand onto each butt cheek and cop a feel.
• Notice: Are the muscles clenched hard, or are they soft and hanging out? Are they both engaged the same amount?
• Take note of your tendency.
Self-Correct: Maximize your booty strength. Instead of squeezing tight or relaxing completely, try:
• Engage Gluteus Maximus aka Glute Max — the bottom part of each cheek, around where your butt meets your hamstrings. Or, use your hands to feel.
• Give it about 50 percent of your effort so that it doesn’t take over, but it’s doing its job.
• Feel for equal engagement between your right and left sides.
Now, use that awareness and hit up this dynamic flow duo to activate and strengthen your butt before you hit the road or trail…
1. Set up for Bridge — lie on your back with your knees bent, feet hip’s width apart on the floor, arms forward along your sides, and bring your heels and fingers close together.
2. Inhale — lift your hips and reach your arms overhead.
3. Exhale — lower your hips and bring your arms forward along your sides.
4. Inhale to lift.
5. Exhale to lower.
6. Continue moving to the rhythm of your breath — practice powering the movement from the bottom portion of your glutes.
1. Stand with your feet hip’s width apart and parallel.
2. Bend your knees to come into a squat with your knees tracking over your ankles, and your arms overhead.
3. Inhale — rise to stand.
4. Exhale — bend your knees, returning to Chair.
5. Inhale to stand.
6. Exhale to squat.
7. Continue moving to the rhythm of your breath — practice powering the movement from the bottom portion of your glutes (just like in Bridge Flow), rather than just sticking your butt out behind you.
Feel for that same engagement through your butt when you run, especially on hills. Get that booty going!